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Application of biological enzymes in functional cosmetics

Cosmetics lied down on a white background

When we are talking about the application of biological enzymes in functional cosmetics, some food manufacturers might have a flash of inspiration. Yes, like Nattokinase, not only can we eat them, but also, we can make them into cosmetics!

Recently, people’s interest in using biological enzymes in cosmetics has increased, not only from a technical point of view but also from the market prospects and consumers’ awareness of these apparently effective ingredients.

Enzymes have been used in laundry detergents for more than 20 years and have long been associated with the ability to provide and improve powerful stain removal capabilities. According to some speculations, their positive response in the market may be interpreted as performance-enhancing cosmetics that meet the aging population and pursue younger needs.

A very interesting explanation is that the natural shedding of the skin is controlled by an enzymatic reaction. Specific enzymes dissolve the desmosomes that release dead epidermal cells. These enzymes are produced in dead keratinocytes. Their active site swallows sulfhydryl groups and clears peptide bonds in almost the same way as thioglycolic acid and mercaptoalanine (plus derivatives) break peptide bonds in hair when perming. The use of these types of enzymes and their cofactors helps to clean the surface of the skin and is an opportunity for new products to supplement the skin’s appearance (accelerate cell renewal).


Application of biological enzymes in functional cosmetics

The efficiency of the enzyme is very high, and it works by reducing the entropy between the product and the reaction material, so the reaction can happen quickly if the activation energy is reduced. When the reaction occurs, the ground state energy level of the substrate that the enzyme acts on also increases. Then the substrate of the enzyme is bonded to the site of action of the enzyme.

it works by reducing the entropy between the product and the reaction material

Pharmaceutical science shows that it is possible to synthesize powerful inhibitors that are very similar to transition states and bind to enzymes. Most commonly, the inhibitory effect occurs when a molecule interferes with the bonding of the enzyme-substrate and the enzyme. People’s interest in using enzyme inhibitors in cosmetics is increasing. Many of them refer to those enzyme inhibitors that whiten the skin against tyrosinase activity, and those that prevent elastin from cross-linking and cause the skin to lose elasticity. These enzyme inhibitor cosmetics work by binding enzymes non-competitively, changing the structure of the enzyme so that the enzyme is almost or completely inactivated.


Application of biological enzymes in functional cosmetics especially nattokinase: Keratolytic enzyme

The correct scientific name is keratinase. Skincare products use keratinase as an ingredient to dissolve and purify skin keratin, so it is often called “keratolytic enzyme.”

Keratinase has plant and microbial sources.

Plant sources, such as papaya enzyme and pineapple enzyme. But for keratin with a hard substrate structure, its dissolving power is poor, and it must be combined with high thermal catalysis.

Sources of microorganisms include Bacillus, Chrysosporium, Aspergillus, Alternaria, Curvularia, Cladosporium, Fusarium, Geotrichum, and Monosporum. But except for the genus Bacillus, most of these genera belong to dermatophytes, which have no useful value in maintenance.

Among the Bacillus genus (Bacillus) that has been well studied and has been safely used for many years is the keratinase extracted from the fermentation broth of Bacillus subtilis. The most cited in the cosmetics industry is the trade name Keratoline (raw material from Sederma, France), which is registered as “Bacillus Ferment” by INCI.

Yes, nattokinase is also a kind of Keratolytic enzyme.

What’s interesting is that some nattokinase waste will be produced in our production process. Generally, we choose to discard it directly. However, some of our employees accidentally discovered that if they do not use gloves to touch, they actually get an unexpected exfoliating effect–their hands become very smooth and tender.

their hands become very smooth and tender

This can really be used as a super application, but both the factory and the market are in the early stages. If you are a cosmetics manufacturer, welcome to cooperate with us to develop exfoliating products.


How safe is subtilisin keratinase?

In terms of safety traceability, where the keratinase comes from is very important. Especially when it is applied to the pharmaceutical, food, and cosmetic industries, our standards and requirements for whether the microorganisms themselves are safe bacteria are much higher than those for industrial use.

Bacillus subtilis is a gram-positive bacteria and is a safe bacteria that is not pathogenic to humans.


What are the characteristics of subtilisin keratinase?

Neutral protease is a metalloprotease, and its active center contains Zn2+ and Ca2+ metal ions. It is composed of 275 amino acids with a molecular weight of about 64-69KDa. Mainly used in the hydrolysis treatment of various proteins.

Subtilis keratinase is an inducing enzyme, and keratinase can be induced to act when keratin components are present. It can be stored for a long time at a low temperature and has certain oxidation resistance.

The most suitable acid-base value is about pH 7.0, and it is stable in the range of pH 6.5-8.0.

The optimum temperature is 42~44℃. Treated at 40°C for 1 hour, it can still retain about 96% of the enzyme activity. However, the enzyme was completely inactivated when treated at 60°C for 10 minutes.


Subtilisin keratinase, the formula is contraindicated?

(1) Formula pH

Maintain the pH at 6.5~8.0. It is not suitable to be formulated with fruit acids, nor to be used before and after acid products.

(2) Avoid adding ingredients

*EDTA taboo—it completely inactivates keratinase

*Alcohol & Isopropanol—Try to avoid it, the activity will be reduced

*Oil control ingredients containing Cu ions—cannot be added, the activity will be offset

(3) The components of protein structure should not be shared

Such as collagen, hydrolyzed collagen, multi-peptides, soy protein, etc., will be broken down into the smallest unit of amino acid monomers in the formula.

(4) It is not suitable to use when there is a broken mouth

Subtilisin keratinase has the ability to dissolve serum albumin and hemoglobin, which will cause wound tissues to be difficult to heal. It is not suitable for squeezing acne skin, acne purulent damaged skin, and skin with inflammation and allergies.

Application of biological enzymes in functional cosmetics

If you are interested in the application of biological enzymes in functional cosmetics, especially nattokinase, welcome to contact us to develop a new kind of product!